A new era of the Internet
The Internet can really be categorized into three phases. There was the initial web where everything was decentralized. Computers or servers in different parts of the world connected to each other while transacting with just information. This early web can still be experienced today if you point your browser to one of the government or educational institution websites. There you will find static pages which contains more text than any other elements. Web 1.0 was truly humanity’s first attempt at bringing seamless connectivity and knowledge transfer.
Within 2 decades, this free Internet gave way to a new form of web that was enabled by web platforms. The kind that you fire up first thing in the morning even before a coffee routine. Facebook, Twitter and many others improved the user experience and brought the Internet to a wider audience. Mobile technology enabled this move to a hyper-connected scenario. Web 2.0 deviated away from the early ethos of the Internet and produced walled-gardens of algorithmic content distribution. The user is served up whatever content based on their past browsing history and other preference parameters.
In the third phase of the web, we will be interacting with more than just information. Innovation in blockchain technology is now enabling the transfer of value across the web in a way that is trust-minimized, decentralized and censorship-resistant. For the first time in history, the capability of digitizing everything of value in the physical realm is becoming a reality.
A world computer
Web 3.0 is capable of disrupting every imaginable industry. This promise is shouldered by Bitcoin with both it’s on-chain and layer 2 solutions. We’ll leave Bitcoin for now and focus on another euqally important blockchain. Ethereum is the second largest blockchain in terms of market capitalization and possibly user adoption. In fact, it can be argued that Ethereum potentially has more user accounts than Bitcoin does.
If Bitcoin is the digital gold, then Ethereum can be thought of as digital money. Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum is a cryptocurrency with inflationary properties. Up to 18 million new ETH (the cryptocurrency powering Ethereum) is minted every year with no supply cap present. At Cryptodurian, we view Ethereum as complementing protocol to Bitcoin’s and has it’s own niche role to play in the digital world.
In addition to cryptographically enabling transfer of value, Ethereum has other additional properties worth exploring. It extends the capability of blockchains into computation of data, peer-to-peer communication and creation of digital assets. Ethereum is also getting more decentralized over time through greater development initiatives, wider mining operation and a host of fortune 500 companies now building on the protocol. The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) really does hold the promise of becoming the world computer if all goes well.
New Internet economies
Through the Ethereum protocol, a software developer is able to create a variety of applications that runs simultaneously on multiple computers. This could be a simple cryptocurrency wallet that lets you store value and perform instantaneous payments without relying on a third-party.
We have also seen a multitude of financial web-application introduced to open up the possibility of lending and earning interest on your digital assets. There are also decentralized marketplaces, where you can setup an e-commerce store and sell both physical and digital goods and receive payment with ETH or other cryptocurrencies. Want to try your luck at prediction of real-world events, there’s an application on the Ethereum platform for that.
Digital assets become a reality
Another area with huge potential is where games and digital game items intersect. In-game items can be forged on the blockchain and become highly prized collectibles especially the ones that are rare. We can only imagine a not-too distant future where teenagers start earning reasonable income through engagement in electronic games and trading of digital in-game items.
The potential is endless. All that is required is a smart contract, a small piece of program or script that automatically executes the desired output based on a given input or value. The word contract in this case has no legal connotations. No third-party, government or financial institution is required to facilitate transactions through smart contracts. In an elegant way, it ensures equality, fairness and constant availability of services to anyone in the world with a smart-phone and a browser with Web 3.0 capability.
Smart contract however are really not that smart. They are only really capable of interacting with information that is on-chain. A vast array of financial and other information is now being integrated through oracles by companies such as Microsoft and IBM on the Ethereum blockchain to address this limitation and cater to new possibilities. It’s really the beginning of a move to digitized web of value.
Road to financial independence
Eager to get started. Well, you can dive right in by getting the right setup on your hardware as the first step. We recommend that you try out the Brave browser which can be downloaded here. It’s a chrome based browser and is easily a better experience compared to the original Chrome. Plus, you get the added privacy and ad-blocking feature. Next you would need the Metamask extension which can be obtained here for an account creation (this step is only needed if you decide not to install Brave but continue with other browsers).
That’s really just the beginning. You will soon be transferring ETH to the Metamask account from an on-ramp facility such as this. As soon as you discover a web 3.0 application, a prompt will ask if you would like the application to connect to your Metamask account. Check out our resources page for a list of decentralized finance (DeFi) or gaming applications.
In this post, we have introduced you to Ethereum as the fuel for Web 3.0 applications without getting too much into the technical details. It is the right of every individual to take back their own financial sovereignty and limit erosion of wealth to fees and charges imposed by the middle-man. Bitcoin enables wealth preservation while Ethereum extends the individual’s wealth generation and growth. A portfolio combining both of these cryptocurrencies would serve the individual the best. Step into the future today!